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Should I Start a Podcast?

Learn if starting a podcast is right for you.

Episode 149: Should you start a podcast? Is a podcast going to help you sell more heavy-duty parts, and advance your goal as a company while reaching more people? In this episode, we dive into that topic and talk about if podcasting is right for you.

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Transcript of Episode:

Jamie Irvine:

You are listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine. And this is the show where you get expert advice about heavy-duty parts that keeps trucks and trailers on the road longer while lowering cost-per-mile. Today, we’re gonna talk about podcasts. This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. Now what about you? Should you start a podcast, maybe you are working in sales or in marketing, or perhaps you are in a leadership role at your company. And the question is, is a podcast gonna help you to sell more heavy-duty parts to advance your goals as a company and reach more people? Well, the short answer is yes. And then also maybe no. So I guess we’ll say the answer is maybe let me explain. If somebody met me today, maybe you’re watching today for the first time you go and check out The Heavy-Duty Parts Report.

And you’re like, wow. You know that show it’s in syndication on TNC radio. It’s got a really good following. I wanna do that too. Well, if you want to do what I’ve done, you’ve gotta back up four years because I started podcasting four years ago. I mentioned The Heavy-Duty Parts Report has only been around for two years. That means I had a show before The Heavy-Duty Parts Report and it didn’t work out. So I learned a lot. I learned how to podcast. I learned a lot of lessons about what not to do. My first podcast Build a Better Business. I interviewed 150 entrepreneurs. It was an awesome show. I loved it. I loved doing it, but I made so many mistakes. You know, I wasn’t focused. The show was too broad. You know, when you think of the title of that show, Build a Better Business, what industry does that serve? You don’t know.

So the very first lesson I learned about podcasting was you cannot be broad in your subject matter. There is an expression you wanna be an inch wide and a mile deep. You wanna niche down till it hurts. The riches are in the niches, my friends. So if you’re gonna start a podcast and you sell hundreds of parts, don’t be generic. Pick something that is underserved. Pick something that you have a lot of expertise in, and that you can go deep, deep, deep into that subject, because that is what gets through the noise. That is what reaches people. And so if you are going to start a podcast, I think that’s the number one thing you want to remember. Be very, very, very specific. And when you think you’ve niched down enough, go another level. Now, when I was at this crossroads of what do I do in my podcasting career, I’ve spent two years of my life trying to build this show called Build a Better Business.

It didn’t work and I’m gonna launch The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. You know, first thing I did is I looked at podcasts, who is out there, what kinds of podcasts are serving the trucking industry? And I found some podcasts that were about freight. I found podcasts that were about the legal aspects of logistics. And I found a podcast out there that was very popular that seemed to talk about everything from the stocks to invest in logistics. But I didn’t find someone that was catering to the heavy-duty parts sector of trucking. And so I started The Heavy-Duty Parts, I found my niche. Now this is really important. Don’t go and try to copy what I’ve done. I actually kind of made that mistake in my first podcast. See, I was inspired by a podcaster named John Lee Dumas, world renowned.

I was a guest on his show episode 1769. Yeah, that’s right. He’s got over 2000 episodes published. This guy has killed it. He specialized in daily interviews of entrepreneurs. He owns that space. It was impossible to try to disrupt him and a handful of others who had really focused on that subject. Interviewing daily entrepreneurs. When I launched my first show, you know, I kind of tried to copy him. And first of all, I didn’t do daily. And second of all, I just wasn’t as good and as focused as he was. And he had like a five year head start. So if you were gonna launch your podcast today, maybe you’re a manufacturer. Maybe you are a parts distributor. Don’t just look at what shows are out there and try to copy them. You’ve got to be authentic. You’ve got to be unique.

You’ve got to be niched down, focused. This is very, very important. So if the answer to my question today, should I start a podcast, becomes, yes. This is the thing that you have to think about is the process you have to go through to decide what is my show? Is it gonna be interview-based? Is it going to just be me on the mic, talking directly to my customers? How am I gonna serve my customers? And how will this help me reach more of my customers? That’s what you’ve gotta really focus on. So if you’re willing to do all of that, then the answer probably is yes, you should start a podcast. One thing I want you to think about is as a salesperson, when you go to someone’s location and try to have a conversation with them and it’s unscheduled, sometimes you can barely get five minutes with them.

One of the beautiful things about a podcast, like my podcast, 25 minutes long, that’s 25 minutes of pretty much undivided attention of all of the people who listen to my podcast regularly. That is amazing. So if you’re a salesperson working for a manufacturer and you’re starting a podcast, think about it in those terms, this is this opportunity for you to talk directly to potential customers, to existing customers, to address their needs, to serve them better. And it is something that is a little more intimate than a lot of the social media that you do. There’s something about, you know, a person having those headphones in, listening to your voice, getting to know you over a period of time where you could really create strong relationships. In fact, I can tell you that last year before the pandemic started, when I was at trade shows, I had people I had never met before coming up to me, shaking my hand, giving me kind of like that bro hug.

They felt they knew me intimately because they had spent so much time listening to and my guests on The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. So again, from a sales perspective, I mean the podcast is just such a powerful medium to deliver a very customized, very important message where you’re gonna serve your customer at a greater degree. Okay, I gotta carry on, there’s so much more for me to cover in this subject. Do not start a podcast. If you are not willing to do it for the long haul, podcasting requires consistency for me. I often tell people I’ll put out a new episode on Monday even if the end-times started, that’s how consistent I am. You have to pick an interval, could be weekly. Doesn’t have to be, could be every, every two weeks. It could be once a month. One of those three intervals is probably best suited for you, especially if you’re in B2B.

So if you’re a manufacturer or a parts distributor, you know, a daily show, it’s a massive commitment and it’s probably not even gonna serve your audience very well. So weekly, every two weeks or monthly, any one of those is fine, but whatever one you choose, let everybody know what the interval is and then stick to it no matter what. Consistency is extremely important. Now, I also want to temper your expectations. I’ve been at podcasting for four years. Only in the last few months has my show really started to take off. There is something in podcasting called the hockey stick curve. Picture a hockey stick, laying flat on its back with the blade pointing up in the air. That’s what podcasting is like for a very long time. It’s gonna feel like no one is listening. You’re gonna travel the entire length of that hockey stick, which is growing little incrementally, just a little bit at a time. Feels like no one’s listening, right? But every month it’s just a little bit better, a little bit better. And then you hit where that curve goes up. And when you hit that good things happen. So you have to be consistent, but you also have to be willing to put in the effort and time to grow your show. And that is just going to take months, probably more like a couple of years to really get it going. So if you’re looking for a quick return on investment for your marketing digital strategy, podcasting is not the way to go. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Podcasting is very powerful, but it takes a lot of time to build up the show to a point where it starts to move the needle on revenue. When it does though, ooh, it’s awesome. It is awesome.

We’re gonna take a quick break. We’ll be right back. Having issues with your commercial equipment? You need ATAs Technology and Maintenance Council, also known as TMC. TMC develops recommended practices, addressing the most pressing technology and maintenance issues affecting commercial vehicle fleets. You can join TMC for just pennies a day. And when you do, you’ll get access to thousands of pages of technical information and you can attend events like the upcoming 2022 Annual Meeting and Exhibition, March 7th through 10th in Orlando, Florida. For more information, check out TMCtrucking.org.

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You know, one thing too, I want to talk about is something called pod fade. This is a real thing. The statistics are clear. The average podcast lasts 12 episodes or six months, whatever comes first. A lot of people have jumped into podcasting with a lot of enthusiasm and they’ve ended up fading out very quickly. My recommendation is if you’re gonna start podcasting, set a significant goal, I will not quit until at least this in my first podcast, my goal was I will not quit until I’ve done a hundred episodes.

Well, I ended up doing 150 before I quit. So I met my goal and I gave myself enough time to find out what’s working, what’s not and where should I pivot? When I launched The Heavy-Duty Parts Report, I did the same thing. I set myself a goal that I said, no matter what I’m gonna do this many episodes, it was another a hundred episodes. That’s at a weekly show. That’s two years. So it’s a serious commitment. I’ve reached 100 episodes and we’re wildly successful and things are going amazing. So I’m not stopping. In fact, I hope I never stop. But the point is that you may have to try a couple times, and if you have to pivot, and if you have to kind of reformat the show because you made some mistakes early on, this could be a two to four year project before where you hit the pay dirt, as they say.

So again, if you’re looking for a quick shot in the arm for sales, this is not the medium for you. You can get way faster results with Facebook Ads and with other social media channels and platforms. But podcasting, if you’re willing to do the marathon, can pay off huge downstream. Let’s talk a little bit about the tech. Don’t get overwhelmed with the technology. You need something to record your audio. You need a decent microphone and you need to edit the audio and you need a host to host your episodes. So that’s what you need. Let’s go in reverse order. Start with Buzzsprout. I’m not gonna get paid a dime if you sign up to Buzzsprout, but I’m telling you Buzzsprout is where it’s at for podcasters. Super easy to set up, super easy to use, and just a pile of tools to make your podcast better.

I used to have to do Buzzsprout, and Auphonics. Now Auphonics is an AI software that helps you edit and make your audio sound great. Buzzsprout partnered with Auphonics. They’re now together. You don’t even need to leave the Buzzsprout platform to add on what they call something magic. And it just makes your audio sound amazing. Your microphone. I use a Samson, that’s not Samsung like the phone. Samson, like the guy with the long hair in the Bible, the Samson COU Pro. That’s what I use. That’s the microphone I’m on right now. It’s a condenser microphone, USB, don’t need a mixer, plug it right into your laptop. It has some drawbacks though. It’s it is a good mic, but it’s not the perfect solution for everyone. Anything RODE, high quality stuff. And the ATR 2100 for residents of the United States, that is an awesome microphone for not a big price tag that will really get you there.

Don’t spend a lot on mics, couple hundred bucks and you should be able to just start recording and go. Now the big secret, if you’re gonna do interviews, if you’re gonna have people on record through whatever you use, Zoom Teams, Google Meet, Streamyard like I’m using right now has a record only option. You know, whatever you use when you’re recording your audio. I want you to record it using that tool and also record it using a free downloadable software called Audacity. Use that to record your local, your audio locally. The reason why is because the quality will be better. You’re not routing it through the internet first. Very, very important. Listen. The five P’s apply in podcasting, right? Proper planning prevents poor performance. So if you’re gonna get into podcasting, guess what? Go back and listen to some of my early episodes, I wasn’t that good. I’m still learning and getting better all the time. You’re gonna suck at the beginning. That’s just the honest fact. It’s gonna take a while to get comfortable, to get used to doing this. Don’t stop. If you make the decision, you’re gonna do it. Don’t let that stop you. You want to just start doing recordings? Listen back to them. Get better over-time. Practice, practice, practice, practice. Remember this isn’t a sprint. It is a marathon. Okay. So should you start a podcast? Yes or no. The answer is maybe. It depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking a long-term strategy to build an audience of prospective customers that you can serve at a greater level and provide them with a more intimate experience of dealing with you, something that’ll allow you to show your personality, show your company technical ability, and really be able to reach a small group of customers.

And in B2B, we don’t need tens of thousands. We sometimes only need hundreds or not even that sometimes, sometimes 10 new customers could represent a million dollars in new business. If you’re willing to put in the time, if you’re willing to run the marathon, then podcasting is a great strategy. Remember though niche down till it hurts, an inch wide, a mile deep. Just remember that. If you are not in a position to do everything that needs to be done, and remember after you’re done recording and you’ve done all of that work, planning the episode, practicing it, and then recording it. You still have to edit it. You still have to publish it and you still have to promote it. It’s a massive commitment. And if that’s just too much for you, that’s okay. There’s an alternative. Be a guest on as many podcasts as you can.

You know, a good friend of The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. Scott Boltz reached out to us and said, Jamie, I was thinking about starting my own podcast, after I looked at how much work it was, I decided I just don’t have the time to do it. Could I be on your show? And could we talk about subjects that are important to me to be able to help get the message out there? I said, absolutely. You know, podcasters like me, content creators like me, we’re always looking for opportunities to create content with someone Scott and I have had many conversations on the heavy duty parts reporting. He’s been on my live program. He’s been on my podcast. We’ve tackled big industry issues together. He’s been like a returning guest who’s almost like a co-host and it has been wonderful. And here’s the thing. I have a website.

I publish all of this content. I give him links that he can point people’s attention to. And guess what? He’s even gotten business selling after treatment products because of being on my show, because people watched it, got to know him better. Right? Got to see what he’s all about and then reached out to him and said, Hey, you know, you reached out to me six months ago. I watched some of those episodes on The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. Yeah. I’d like to do business with you. So if you’re not gonna do a podcast, your company, you as an individual should start reaching out to podcasts and that serve this industry, reach out to Tyler Robertson’s podcast, the DL podcast from Diesel Laptops, come on The Heavy-Duty Parts Report, reach out to some of the other podcasts out there that are serving the industry and pitch them ideas of different concepts or conversations you want to have.

I’m sure you’re gonna find opportunities to be able to represent your company and to get involved with someone else’s podcast. And guess what? You just have to show up, be the guest and you don’t have to do any of the work so that my recommendation, if the answer is no. I hope this has given you some insight. If you would like to work with me directly, I’m a consultant. I’m not just the host of The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I work with companies just like the company you work for. And I help them with their digital strategy, whether it’s social, whether it’s using podcasts, whether it is adopting a sales channel, to be able to bring customers into a digital experience when they buy your products. That’s what I do. So if you’d like to work with me, we’ll get a meeting set up. You can tell me about what’s going on and what your goals are. And I’ll let you know if I’m in a position to be able to help you reach those goals faster than you would do so if you were completely on your own without the experience that I’ve gained, building The Heavy-Duty Parts Report.

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